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Patients & Visitors' Guide

HIPAA Protected Health Information 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is now in effect.  The regulation provides consumers with critical rights to control the release of their medical information.  The law also outlines how an individual's health care information should be used.

For help in understanding HIPAA, Northeast Hospital Corporation has published, "A Guide To Your Medical Information".  The guide is a brief overview of your rights and our responsibilities to you, the patient and is published in its entirety below.  We also have a link to our Release of Information form, which must be signed by you as the patient or your legal representative prior to any release of your medical information not otherwise required by law.

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A GUIDE TO YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION

HIPAA: A GUIDE TO YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION

HOW WE ROUTINELY USE MEDICAL INFORMATION


NOTICE OF INFORMATION PRACTICES:   This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information.  Please review it carefully.

PATIENT PRIVACY:   At Northeast Hospital Corporation's health care facilities, your privacy is a priority.  We are committed to following federal and state guidelines to maintain the confidentiality of your medical information.

MEDICAL INFORMATION:    Each time you visit a hospital, physician, or healthcare provider, a record of your visit is made.  Typically, this record contains your name, address and insurance information, your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care.  This information is referred to as your medical information, medical record, or protected health information (PHI).

TREATMENT:   We may share your medical information with physicians, nurses, students and other healthcare personnel who provide you with healthcare services or are involved in your care.   We also provide copies of various reports that assist caregivers in treating you after your discharge from the hospital.  We may also recommend treatment alternatives, tell you about health benefits and services we provide, or send appointment reminders.

Sensitive information, such as substance abuse or mental health treatment or HIV test results, will not be released without your signed consent.

PAYMENT:   We define the services and supplies you receive at each visit or admission so that you, your insurance company, or another third party can pay us.  We may also tell your health plan about upcoming treatment or services that require prior notification or prior approval.

HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT:   We may use your medical information to assess the care and outcomes of your case and others like it.  We may also use it to evaluate the performance of the healthcare professionals who provided healthcare services to you.  To operate our facilities, we may also share information with outside parties, such as regulatory agencies, auditors, or consultants.

REQUIRED USES:   There are limited times when we are permitted or required to use medical information without your signed permission.  These situations are:

• For public health activities, such as tracking diseases or medical devices.
• To protect victims of abuse or neglect.
• For federal and state health oversight, such as fraud investigations.
• For legal or administrative proceedings.
• As required by law or for law enforcement, such as when someone is the victim of a crime.
• To coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors.
• To facilitate communication about organ donation.
• To avert serious threat to public health or safety.
• For specialized government functions to ensure national security.
• To Workers' Compensation if you are injured at work.
• To a correctional institution if you are an inmate.
• For research following the hospital's internal review process.  This may include informing you or your physician about research studies relevant to your care.

OPTIONAL USES:   Unless you tell the scheduler or the registration clerk that you do not wish to participate, we may also share your medical information for the reasons listed below:

• To communicate with family or friends involved in your care.
• To confirm your presence to callers or visitors who ask for you by name.
• To let your clergy know if you have been admitted.

We will not disclose information for the reasons listed above without your specific permission if you are admitted for substance abuse or mental health treatment.

If you need emergency treatment or are unable to communicate with us (i.e., if you are unconscious or in severe pain), we may judiciously use your medical information without consent until it can be obtained.

We may use your name and address to contact you in the future to raise money for Northeast Hospital Corporation.  The funds raised will be used to expand and improve the services and programs we provide to our communities.

ALL OTHER USES:   All other uses not previously described may only be made with your signed consent.

OUR RESPONSIBILITIES:   Northeast Hospital Corporation is required by law to maintain the privacy of your medical information, provide this notice of our privacy practices, and abide by the terms of the notice currently in effect.

We reserve the right to change privacy practices published here and make the new privacy practices effective for all the information we maintain.  Revised notices will be posted in our facilities and on this Web site.  Written copies of this guide are also available in all registration areas.

TO CONTACT US:   If you have further questions, would like more information regarding the privacy of your medical information, think we may have violated your privacy rights, or disagree with a decision we made about access to your medical information, contact us:

YOUR RIGHTS:   You have the right to expect the following from Northeast Hospital Corporation.  Requests followed by an * must be made in writing to the Health & Information Management (Medical Records) Department:

• Request that we use a specific telephone number or address to communicate with you.
• Receive a paper copy of this notice even if you receive it electronically.
• Request that we restrict how we use your medical information (we may not be able to comply with all requests). *
• Inspect and copy your medical information (fees may apply). *
• Request additions or corrections to your medical information. *
• Receive an accounting of how your medical information was shared (excludes those uses for treatment, payment, healthcare management and required uses).

TO CONTACT US:   If you have further questions, would like more information regarding the privacy of your medical information, think we may have violated your privacy rights, or disagree with a decision we made about access to your medical information, contact us:

Director, Patient Relations, 978 922-3000, ext. 6971
Privacy Officer, 978 922-3000, ext. 2854

For concerns about substance abuse or mental health treatment:
Human Rights Officer, 781 477-6945

All complaints will be thoroughly investigated and your care will not be adversely affected for filing a complaint.  You may also file a complaint with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20201.  Or you may email the Secretary, HHS.Mail@hhs.gov.

NORTHEAST HOSPITAL CORPORATION MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS
Addison Gilbert Hospital
BayRidge Hospital
Beverly Anesthesia Associates
Beverly Hospital
Beverly Hospital Cable Center
Beverly Hospital Hunt Center
Beverly Pathology Associates
Beverly Radiology Associates
Children's Hospital Program at Beverly Hospital
Northeast Health Foundation
North Suburban Hospitalists, P.C.


December 2005

 

 

 

 

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